Sesame Street Tackles Anti-Asian Bullying with ‘Proud of Your Eyes’ Video | Corona, CA

By Bianca Brutus | June 25, 2021, 9:14 AM PDT

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind “Sesame Street,” recently released a video focused on the experiences of Asian American children as part of an ongoing initiative to help families have honest conversations about race.

In “Proud of Your Eyes,” the characters Wes and Alan help their friend Analyn, who is Filipino American, after she was teased about the shape of her eyes. They sing a song together about how their eyes are beautiful and how eyes can tell the story of their family. The video is part of Sesame Workshop’s program “The ABCs of Racial Literacy,” which provides an educational curriculum on racial justice for young children.

The song includes lyrics such as, “Your eyes tell the story of your family. They show where you came from, and how you came to be. The color, the shape and the size should always make you proud of your eyes.”

According to a recent study conducted by Sesame Workshop, 86 percent of children say they believe people of different races aren’t always treated fairly, and parents reported that close to half of these children had personally experienced some form of discrimination.

New videos with Sesame Street Muppet friends include Breathe, Feel, Share, in which Wes, Abby, and Elijah discuss an incident that happened at school and a strategy to cope with hurtful situations.

Sesame Workshop also released online articles, guides and activities to help families continue the conversation about combating racism. The new resources were created with guidance from the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families along with several other racial equity groups.

“The reality is that many children grow up experiencing racism, including Asian American children who for years have reported high levels of racial harassment — a number exacerbated by heightened xenophobia and scapegoating during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Anita Gundanna and Vanessa Leung, co-executive directors of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, said in a statement. “With a long history of building trust with families, Sesame Workshop is the ideal organization to engage parents and caregivers in critical conversations with their little ones, help families cope with the harms of racism, and help build solidarity among communities.”

“Having open conversations with children about race and racism is critical, not only for building understanding and empathy but also for beginning the healing process for children who experience racism,” Gundanna and Leung, who served as advisers on the new Sesame Workshop resources, said.

Alan Muraoka, the Japanese American actor who has played Alan, the owner of Hooper’s Store, on “Sesame Street” since 1998, assisted in creating storylines centered around diversity and discrimination on the show. Last year, he co-directed a special on racism entitled “The Power of We.”

“To be able to see so many different types of people represented is super important,” Muraoka said in an interview with NBC’s “TODAY” show in 2019. “So, for me, being Japanese American, you know, to be sort of the Asian American representation on the show is so important, and I’ve had so many Asian American parents come up and say how much that meant to them. But I feel like I’m just another person in this beautiful fabric that we’ve woven and created.”

If you would like to learn more about anti-bullying efforts, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

What Is Seth’s Law? | Corona, CA

Seth’s Law is named after a 13-year-old California student who tragically took his own life in 2010 after years of anti-gay bullying that his school failed to address. Now that we are in the midst of these types of discussions and legislations again, but on a national level, it’s a good idea to refresh our memories.

Seth’s Law requires public schools in California to update their anti-bullying policies and programs, and it focuses on protecting students who are bullied based on sexual orientation, gender identity/gender expression, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability, and religion.

California law says that all public-school students should have equal rights and opportunities. Yet many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students report that they experience significant bullying in California schools. And teachers, administrators, and other staff often fail to address the bullying when they see it.

What does state anti-bullying law require school districts to do?

  • Adopt a strong anti-bullying policy that specifically spells out prohibited bases for bullying, including sexual orientation and gender identity/gender expression.
  • Adopt a specific process for receiving and investigating complaints of bullying, including a requirement that school personnel intervene if they witness bullying.
  • Publicize the anti-bullying policy and complaint process, including posting the policy in all schools and offices.
  • Post on the district website materials to support victims of bullying.
  • School personnel must intervene

Seth’s Law specifically contains the following requirement: “If school personnel witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, he or she shall take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so.”

(Education Code Section 234.1(b)(1))

If you would like to learn more about anti-bullying efforts, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Bullies Hurt Themselves too | Corona, CA

These days, it is easier to find bullies than heroes. But it shouldn’t be the way and we should focus 2020 on becoming a more tenderhearted society. Because bullying doesn’t just affect the victim, it affects everyone involved, including the bully. I know it may be tough to make sense of all of that, but if you think about it, it really isn’t tough to see. If you are a happy person, you have no reason no bully anyone. No, bullies are generally hurting themselves at the same time. 

Think about it – each time a bully hurt someone, they become more and more removed emotionally from the suffering and pain of their victims and begin to justify their actions to themselves by believing their victims deserve to be bullied. Eventually, they believe that the only way to get what they want from others is to be that bully. As a result, bullies fail to develop the social skills necessary for sharing, reciprocating, empathizing, and negotiating – the very things that form the basis for lasting friendships.

But that’s not all. There is a lasting affect that results if a child bully doesn’t change their ways. As they mature into adulthood, children who have bullied others often show higher rates of:

  • Aggression
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Carrying weapons to school
  • Dropping out of high school
  • Convictions for crime
  • Difficulty controlling their emotions
  • Traffic violations
  • Convictions for drunk driving
  • Depression
  • Suicides

Some adults who have been bullied as children may be more likely to allow their own children to bully others, thus raising a new generation of bullies. So, if you know a bully, take the time to reach out and understand why they feel the need to bully.

If you would like to learn more about bully prevention, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Bully Prevention at School | Corona, CA

It’s a scary thought, but bullied students are more likely to take a weapon to school, get involved in physical fights, and suffer from anxiety, depression and other health problems, both physical and mental. And research suggests that schools where students report a more severe bullying climate score worse on standardized assessments than schools with a better climate. This is why it is so important for everyone to prevent all types of bullying whenever possible. As a leader of a school, effectively addressing a bullying problem requires a culture change and it’s your duty to take the helm when needed…

Assess the issues. It is necessary to know what the problem is before we try to solve it. Take the time to survey students, staff and parents to find out how much and what type of bullying is going, as well as where and when, to target prevention efforts.

Enforcing a schoolwide code of conduct. Rules teach the right and wrong ways to behave. Having these rules reinforce school values and clearly define unacceptable behavior and consequences. Empower bystanders, teachers and especially students, for help by training them to identify and respond to inappropriate behavior.

Increase adult supervision. Most bullying happens when adults are not present, so make sure an adult is visible and vigilant in hallways, stairwells, cafeterias and locker rooms, as well as on buses and the way to and from school for students who walk.

Conduct bullying prevention activities. School assemblies, communications campaigns or creative arts contests are all fun, spirit-building ways of highlighting school values to bring the community together and reinforce the message that bullying is wrong.

If you would like to learn more about bully prevention, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Don’t Be Scared of Bullies | Corona, CA

October marks National Bullying Prevention Month, but today is Halloween, so let’s go into this spooky night with the idea of having a really sweet time. No one should have to tolerate people being mean to them, and if they do, they need to know it will be okay. Not only will things get better, but there are things that can be done to get the bullying to stop. After all, this is the time of year we pretend to be anything we want to be – there is no place for bullies. So, as we gather together with friends to trick-or-treating, here are some tips to think about, in case someone tries to ruin your Halloween fun:

  • Stick with friends and try to avoid being alone in targeted areas like locker rooms, restrooms, and places the bully tends to hang around.
  • Be assertive and show confidence when standing up for yourself. Body language can work wonders – standing up straight and making eye contact will show you aren’t going to stand for it.
  • Ignore the bully by walking away or by not responding to their insults at all. They want to get a rise out of you.
  • Don’t seek revenge – it will only make things worse.
  • Don’t keep it a secret. Ask your friends or an adult for help.

If you see someone bullied:

  • Speak up for those being bullied.
  • Don’t join in the act of bullying and refuse to even watch someone being bullied.
  • Give support by talking to the person being bullied in private; extend your friendship and listening ear.
  • You should report any bullying you see to teachers or another adult.

If you would like to learn more about bullying prevention, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

See Something, Say Something | Corona, CA

bullying

No one wants to be bullied, and no one wants to someone being bullied. Unfortunately, there are many ways students can get bullied growing up, especially since the creation of the internet. Sometimes it feels like there are more bullies than not. But there is a way we can prevent bullies from taking control and hurting others. So, you have to ask yourself – when you see or hear bullying, what should you do? Here are just a few suggestions…

Intervene immediately. When you do nothing, you send the message that bullying is acceptable, and victims will begin to believe that adults don’t understand or care. Intervene, even if you’re not sure it’s bullying. Observing children’s actions, words, body language, and facial expressions will help you determine if bullying is occurring. Separate them, if necessary, so as to stop the bullying behaviors.

Get help. If the bully is using physical force, or there is more than one bully, you may need to find another adult to help keep children safe and protect yourself.

Avoid lecturing the bully in front of his or her peers. Your goal is to end the behavior, not humiliate or shame the bully. Rather than serving as a deterrent, lecturing and scolding often give the bully the attention they’re craving. Allow yourself time to consider the incident and obtain any clarifying information—then decide the best course of action.

Give praise and show appreciation to helpful bystanders. Children who try to help the victim or stop the bully are key to bullying prevention. Thanking these little good Samaritans will only increase their desire to continue.

If you would like to learn more about bullying prevention, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Is There a Difference Between a Bully and a Mean Person? | Corona, CA

It seems like these days, everyone feels the need to express everything they think and feel at any given moment. Not only in a good way, but more often than not, in a mean one. This has caused a wave of bullying between students that is tough to ignore. From TV to movies, it seems like everywhere you look someone is talking about bullying. But after some thinking, you have to ask yourself – is everyone that has something mean to say a bully? Is it possible to just be mean?

We all can probably think of someone who has been mean to us. We can probably even think of someone that we’ve been mean to. It doesn’t necessarily categorize anyone as a bully. There are rude people, and we need to learn how to deal with them accordingly. Bullying relies on unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance which includes actions like making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

No matter what the reason is, bullying can have long-term side effects and problems for the victim. Bullying is more than just being mean; it’s hurtful and cruel. The brutal words and actions can create an impact on the heart and general behavior. If you notice that your child has begun to change their overall demeanor to a sadder, more closed off version of themselves, talk to them. They may be hesitant to open up but knowing you’re there when they do will help tremendously.

If you would like to learn more about bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Reasons Kids May Not Mention Bullying | Corona, CA

No one wants to be bullied. Growing up is hard enough as it is. Unfortunately, many times you don’t get the choice. It is estimated that an average of 160,000 students around the country stay home daily out of fear of being bullied each day. And more often than not, parents are unaware that the bullying is taking place. But why? Here are the top five reasons your child may not be mentioning that they are getting bullied:

Tattle tales. We are taught as children that no one likes a tattle tale. However, it is vitally important that children learn the difference between tattling about unimportant things and telling someone when bullying is taking place.

Retaliation. While the adult may be able to address the issue with the child doing the bullying at the time, but they aren’t always going to be around. There is nothing scarier than having a bully retaliate.

Liar, liar. Some children are skittish to tell an adult for fear of not being believed. Some will even believe that maybe they did something to bring the bullying on themselves.

No help. A majority of children believe that telling an adult does nothing to stop the bullying. Sadly, research tends to support this thought. Often kids are told to “toughen up”, or “that it is just a part of growing up”.

Shame. When children are bullied, they often feel ashamed or embarrassed. These feelings alone can keep them from reporting issues, because they don’t want people to know that they were being bullied.

If you would like to learn more about simple acts of kindness, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

How the Parkland Students Refuse to Be Victims | Corona, CA

As a country we are still reeling from the latest tragedy to hit Parkland, FL. Not only did we lose 17 of our children, but the survivors are forever going to be scarred by the entire experience. However, instead of lying down and taking it, the students have decided to fight against the powers that be – the government. You see, they don’t believe that their former student is the bully in the situation. Instead, they are pointing the bully finger at the leaders of our country.

The following link is a write-up from The New Yorker about how these brave students are fighting back against the bully by starting the Never Again Movement. If we all dealt with bullies the same way these students are, we can combat against those hurting others. It’s worth a shot, isn’t it?

If you would like to learn more about simple acts of kindness, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

October is National Anti-Bullying Month | Corona, CA

Rumors, nasty comments, pushing, shoving, hitting – they have no place in our schools. It’s not just “kids being kids”. It’s not just something they will outgrow. Bullying and harassment are serious issues with serious consequences. Students who are bullied are more likely to be depressed, to think about and attempt suicide, and have behavior problems and difficulty learning.

Bullying contributes to poor school attendance, which is a barrier to improving student achievement for all. It affects efforts to close the achievement gap, a longstanding priority for the PTA. Nationally, an estimated 160,000 children miss school every day because of bullying. Prevention of bullying is a priority issue of the PTA because quite simply– children need to attend school in a safe environment.

Governor Jerry Brown signed important legislation sponsored by PTA to protect students from bullying and harassment. AB 1156, by Assembly member Mike Eng, gives students, their families and their teachers effective tools to help better ensure school is a place where everyone is free to learn and teach without the threat of harm. The bill requires training of school site personnel in the prevention of bullying, and it gives victims of bullying priority for transferring out of a school, if requested.

Training sessions on bullying prevention and intervention are now available through the California Department of Education for teachers, administrators, parents, students, certificated staff, risk management and community members. These sessions provide knowledge about the dynamics of bullying, a greater understanding of a systematic approach to bullying, and increase skills in identifying and implementing strategies to address bullying.

If you would like to learn more about National Anti-Bullying Month, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.